I’ve been involved in the voluntary sector for my whole life. I’ve benefited from services, I’ve raised money and I’ve been fortunate enough to build a career. I’ve also been involved in boards and management committees and became a trustee with the wonderful Paths for All in 2020.
One of the strengths of the sector is that we are diverse. Ranging from multi-million-pound organisations working across nations, to small projects focusing on one community.
To keep us all on track, and make sure we are effective, all voluntary organisations need a well-run board. Volunteer trustees are responsible for making sure money is spent well, and that organisations deliver positive change.
Some of the most common problems we hear about on the SCVO Information Service arise when boards are not able to do their job properly. There can be issues with meeting all the legal requirements, or softer challenges if trustees don’t have an agreed way to make decisions.
The Scottish Governance Code was developed to help boards understand what best practice looks like. With the support of our partners CCLA SCVO have now brought the Governance Code to life with a new online Good Governance Checkup which is vital for trustees supporting all types of voluntary organisation. It can be used to help trustees review their governance in line with the five key principles of the Code and identify areas for improvement.
I’d invite anyone on a board to grab a cup of tea and spend 20 minutes working through the online tool. You’ll have the opportunity to reflect on how well your board measures up to the main criteria and celebrate your successes.
Once you finish the Checkup you’ll receive a personalised action plan – this will show you areas where you might want to develop. If there are any big issues, such as not filing your annual return for OSCR, these will be flagged as high priority. You’ll also get access to further resources that will help you in your journey to good governance, and you will be able to go back and get your results in the future, and to share them with other board members.
By completing the Checkup you will also help us to build a picture of good governance in the sector. We will be able to take a look at anonymised results across many organisations and spot areas of strength and areas where more support would be helpful.
The Checkup tool is in a beta phase, which means it is ready to use, but we would welcome your feedback to help us develop it further.
Find out more about the Good Governance Checkup at our Trustees’ Week webinar on 2 November where we will show you how it all works.